TACOMA, Wash. (AP) – Former NBA star Shawn Kemp was acting in self-defense when he opened fire in a Washington parking lot while trying to return a stolen cellphone and other items, his attorneys said Thursday.
Kemp, 53, was arrested by Tacoma police Wednesday in connection with a drive-by shooting investigation, but was released from jail Thursday afternoon without charge. The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office said it will not file charges pending further investigation.
“We’re thankful they didn’t rush to judgment,” said Seattle attorney Tim Leary, who represents Kemp.
In a written statement, Kemp’s other attorney, W. Scott Boatman, said Kemp’s vehicle was broken into Tuesday night and several items — including an iPhone — were taken. Kemp tracked the phone’s location to an occupied car at a Tacoma mall, and when Kemp confronted the people inside, they fired at him and he returned fire, Boatright said.
“There was no shooting as previously reported and Mr. Kemp’s actions were reasonable and legally justified,” Boatman said. “MR. Kemp met with police at the scene in an attempt to assist in the case.”
Tacoma police said they recovered a gun at the scene.
Kemp, who has two licensed cannabis stores in Seattlehe was a six-time NBA all-star and played for the Seattle SuperSonics from 1989 to 1997. He also played for Cleveland, Portland and Orlando.
Kemp made his NBA debut during the 1989-90 season as a 20-year-old who had never played college basketball. He became known for his high athletic dunks.